Bethesda's on-site ministry is comprised of childcare and quality, God-centered education. In addition to the village, Bethesda is seeking to assist and encourage local churches by providing training in childcare.
Bethesda employs national Christian couples who evidence spiritual maturity, are strongly recommended by their pastor and are actively involved in their local church. Prior to placing children in their care, Bethesda requires each couple to participate in a formal training process. This training covers many areas of biblical parenting as well as topics addressing the health & developmental needs of children. Each couple operates their home autonomously while relating closely with a houseparent supervisor who works to encourage and support the family.
Bethesda places up to eight orphaned children with each couple, giving careful attention to the individual needs of each family. The children are selected on the basis of need, and it is Bethesda's goal to care for children who have no living relatives able to meet their needs. Most of the children in Bethesda's families are free of HIV/AIDS; however, a small percentage of our children are infected with the virus. With proper medical treatment, many children with HIV/AIDS can live into their adult years.
JCA uses a Christian curriculum in a conventional school system with teachers instructing at each grade level. The school currently teaches children in Grade R (Kindergarten) through Grade 6.
As JCA continues to guide students in the discovery of truth, it is imperative that we have Christian teachers in place who are growing in their understanding of God's Word as it relates to all aspects of life. The teachers must then encourage that God-given understanding among their students and challenge them toward a life-long pursuit of truth.
Bethesda seeks to encourage others to begin orphan care ministries because we realize that more individuals need to be involved in order to provide care for some of the millions of orphans that have been left on their own as a result of AIDS. Bethesda does this by forming relationships with churches and other organizations that may be able to begin their own orphan care ministry with some encouragement. Bethesda enjoys taking opportunities to share the needs with churches and other organizations.
Bethesda's Hands of Mercy program also helps individuals and churches/organizations to think through their own best options for carrying out a ministry in their area. The program is tailored to the individuals/organizations involved, as different areas have different needs. In some instances, if approved by the Board of Directors, Bethesda may be very involved in providing guidance and training, after which those beginning the new ministry will be equipped to carry out the daily operations on their own.
Bethesda does not wish for the first Children's Village to be the fulfillment of its ministry, by rather that it be a model to be taken to other parts of the country and the world to assist in the orphan crisis that has resulted from the AIDS pandemic. It is Bethesda's goal to assist many more children than those who come through the Children's Village, by training others to care for orphans within healthy Christian family settings.
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